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The importance of standards in our daily lives will surprise you! In addition to industrial products and equipment, standardization covers new fields, such as services, risks, management and more, and involves an increasing number of participants: local councils, consumer associations, professionals, craftsmen, etc. Guaranteeing openness and consultation, in direct relation with the globalization of markets, standardizationis at the heart of the challenges of our companies of tomorrow. As the French representative within European and international standards organizations, AFNOR works to the benefit of the innovation, performance and sustainable development of companies and civil society.
the French Standardization Strategy 2011-2015
What do a sheet of A4 paper, drinking water, a safety helmet and a pressure cooker have in common? Standardization! All of these items have been the subject of important discussions at French, European and international level to reach a consensus on the criteria they must meet; criteria aiming to establish the best compromise between the state of a technology or procedure and economic constraints.
What primarily drives the members of standardization commissions around the world to become involved in this large-scale work is their desire to define a level of quality and safety for products and services. End users now have the assurance that their coffee machine is not going to explode due to poorly controlled pressure, the emergency stop button on a machine tool is visible and within reach, their payment card can be inserted into any terminal anywhere in the world, goods transport containers are suitable for boats, trucks and trains the world over, and so on.
Standards also represent a major challenge for companies. They facilitate the free movement of their products on a market by encouraging the interoperability and comparability of products and services. They thus contribute to the competitiveness of organizations and enable a certain rationalization of production or the business. The standardization of organization methods (also known as standardization of management systems) enables bodies (both public and private) to have the best of practices to optimize their resources (human, material and financial) and be more efficient. Quality, safety and environment management standards therefore provide the methodological tools for improving the effectiveness of organizations.
Standards are voluntary in nature and there is no obligation to conform to them. They represent companies' commitments to satisfying a recognized and approved level of quality and safety. By being cited as reference documents, standards can support mandatory regulations issued by public authorities. Only 2% of standards are mandatory.
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